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Quick & Dirty programming

2001-05-22 17:55:42+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Wow. Can't talk about it much, but recent events have made me a huge[Wiki] believer in Perl, Tcl, and other quick and dirty languages that are good for brevity and prototyping. Especially as I'm watching people doing debugging and trying to think in C[Wiki].

[ related topics: Perl Open Source ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:42+00 by: ebradway

What a tease!

My biggest problem with Perl is learning to stop thinking in C. I've also figured out the Perl's use of punctuation marks for EVERYTHING makes me a little uncomfortable. I mean, you end up with code like this:

$!=0; s/^\s/; <EOF $_ EOF;

That's actually a simplified version of a piece of Mike H.'s code. I firmly believe that magic variables are EVIL. And the <EOF...EOF; notation should be used VERY sparingly.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:42+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, I think that stuff is excusable because Perl should be a write-only language. The point of Perl[Wiki] is to throw together an idea super-quickly, and if it doesn't work, try again. Software engineering, when long-term results matter, is much better left to languages which are about maintainability and not "well, what does the data look like when we split it this way" sorts of operations.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:43+00 by: ebradway


Too bad I'm having to maintain and support a system written by someone else in Perl...

I don't think C (or even C++) is the best choice for the kind of glue code I'm dealing with. Java would be a good language but it kind of sucks in it's current implementation. Maybe Python is the way to go.

I make this statement because I'm about to go through a major rewrite of this system that was originally written in Perl. To me, the biggest drawback of sticking with Perl is the lack of sturctures. Sure, I can use references the same was I use structures in C or BASIC, but the language itself does very little to enforce the datatypes.

I think I need to read that Damian Conway book!

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:43+00 by: dws

Perl is facile, but with a bit of practice and discipline, it's far from read-only. I've had the pleasure of working inside of a large, well-structured Perl application server. Discipline with Perl means using some of the more obscure features sparingly (and with comments).

Unfortunately, Perl gained traction on the web, when people needed to do quick-and-dirty CGIs. For a lot of folks, the web originally meant casting that tired old Software Engineering stuff aside. There's a lot of quick-and-dirty web stuff out there. If it hadn't been Perl, there'd be quick-and-dirty web stuff out there in some other language.